Vegan Broccoli Salad

Salad-dayEvery family has them; those dishes that are included at every festive meal without fail. Their absence is met by gasps of horror, cries of sorrow, and a feeling that the event just isn’t as it should be. Alright, I may be over exaggerating a wee bit but isn’t it true that these classic dishes are an important part of making the event special?

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My grandmothers are superstars in the kitchen. Nonna (on the left) is born and raised in Italy, so naturally her cooking is heavily influenced by her European roots. Growing up, every special family meal would consist of traditional pasta dishes, Italian cookies, and booze-spiked chocolate salami. Gran’s (on the right) cooking on the other hand is more traditional North American, pleasing us with the best classic holiday dishes. I’m very lucky to have a family that is supportive of my veganism; they always make an effort to substitute the butter when possible, and are welcoming to my offer of preparing and sharing a vegan dish.

IMG_1199Broccoli salad is a dish found at most every family meal on my mother’s side of the family. I’m not really sure of its history (Mom, if you’re reading this leave a comment with its story) but it appears in all its creamy glory without fail, thanks to my Mom or one of my Zias. Traditionally it is doused in a sweet ranch dressing, which accompanies the bitter raw broccoli and red onion perfectly. The raisins add a nice sweetness and the sunflower seeds a delightful crunch! It has been a while since I have enjoyed this dish, so for the purpose of the last vegan MoFo 2013 Salad-day I veganized it! It was relatively painless; I simply whipped up a cashew-based dressing as a substitute for the bottled ranch and voila!

Vegan Broccoli Salad

Yield: Approx. 8 c.

Prep time: 20 minutes


  • 2 heads of broccoli, florets and stems chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Cashew Ranch Dressing

  • 1 c. cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours
  • 1 c. soy milk
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp fresh dill
  • 1.5 tsp parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice


  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  • Chop broccoli and onion and place in a large mixing bowl with seeds and raisins. Stir in dressing until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Chill in the fridge in a sealed container.

IMG_1201If you’re feeling really saucy, make another half batch of the dressing (or double for some leftovers) and stir it all in. I’ll admit that this version of the salad isn’t identical to the classic, but it closely resembles the dish how I remember it; delicious! :)

Question of the Day: What dishes are must-haves at your family (or friend) get-togethers?


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11 Thoughts on “Vegan Broccoli Salad

  1. I love those dishes that I know are always at our holiday dinners, so I can always look forward to them. My favourite is my aunt’s spaghetti squash casserole!

    This broccoli salad looks awesome. Have you ever made a creamy vegan sauce with a substitute for cashews? I’m wondering if maybe sunflower seeds would work?
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted…Friday favouritesMy Profile

  2. First of all, it was awesome meeting you last night and thanks again for the granola! ;-) So awesome that you were able to veganize an old family recipe like that. I think the must-haves at my family get togethers is deviled eggs…we’re all obsessed with them!
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Five Things Friday 09/27/13.My Profile

  3. We’d always approach a meal cooked by my Granny with fear! Sadly she’s not the best of cooks…
    How amazing to have an Italian grandmother. I want to know more about this chocolate salami?!
    I make almost the exact same salad and love it. I use the recipe here:
    Emma recently posted…T is for…My Profile

    • Chocolate salami is basically chocolate and biscuits (and a lot of booze) formed into a salami shape and eaten in slices- very indulgent!

  4. Your grandmas are awesome – it’s exciting to learn more about them! Both of my grandmas are very different, I’m closer to my maternal grandma. My paternal grandma isn’t around a lot and lives in California, and she travels back and forth to the U.S. and Asia. What a lovely broccoli salad – utterly delicious with the creamy cashew ranch dressing!

    I make or share meals with friends (fried potatoes/onions or vegan/vegetarian takeout) and most of the simple Asian dishes with my family.

  5. Pingback: Vegan MoFo Day 30 – Rice & Lentils (GF) | Reis & Linsen (GF) | VGNGF*

  6. Aw, what a sweet post! And what a delicious recipe! Come share at Raw Foods Thursdays!


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